A Confusing State?
Posted by Oscar the Grouch on January 11, 2009
To hudud or not to hudud? That appears to be the question. Obviously PAS wants to, we all know that. And no worries, non-Muslims won’t be affected, we are assured. Hudud law won’t apply to non-Muslims. And that is what I have understood all along. Until Karpal Singh strolls along with his novel argument.
Karpal Singh argues that PAS’ assertion that Islamic hudud laws apply only to Muslims “as a fallacy”. He pointed out that Malaysia was not an Islamic state and that the passing and implementation of hudud laws would be unconstitutional. He says that for hudud laws to be applicable, the prerequisite would be the setting up of an Islamic state where Islamic laws were applicable to both Muslims and non-Muslims.
I’m not an Islamic law cum constitutional expert, so I’m unable to comment the basis of Mr Karpal’s contention. But he does have his points in that the Constitution would have to undergo a major re-haul to implement the hudud. I can’t say I agree, at this stage, that the country must first be declared an Islamic state and that the prerequisite of an Islamic state is that Islamic law is applicable to all. But I’m no authority on the matter, so I’ll leave that as there.
What tickled me this morning was reading comments in the Star. Wong Chun Wai took the lead in his blistering piece, “Lulled into complacency” (On the Beat, Sunday Star, January 11, 2009). Wong went straight to the point when he said: –
“Malaysia’s legal system is founded and based on secular laws. That is the basis of our laws. Our parliamentary system is Westminster-style democracy, and we want to keep it that way.”
Wong Chun Wai then begins to tear down the PAS’ ideology, including its supporters, namely Anwar Ibrahim, in relentless fashion. He writes: –
“Now, we hear Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim coming out in the open to support the Islamist party’s hudud plan. We cannot have apologists coming out to support this because an endorsement of this is the beginning of the creation of an Islamic state, which PAS wants to set up.”
In the course of his dramatically beefed-up article, Wong manages to find an ally in Karpal Singh, which he now gallantly describes as follows: –
“DAP leader Karpal Singh must be saluted for his outright objections against Anwar. He has never backed down from his relentless opposition to any attempt, however feeble, to push hard line Islamic plans that run against the fabric of a multi-racial Malaysia”
At the end of his write-up, Wong Chun Wai takes the opportunity to issue all Malaysian a stern warning and grim prediction: –
“The first step must never be allowed to begin and if we let down our guard, they will begin tearing down the present secular structures.
It’s already bad enough that those who speak up have been intimidated, shouted down, bullied and threatened with the tired arguments that opponents are against the religion. Or simply that you are religiously unqualified to talk about the subject.
Now, doesn’t that tell you a lot about the future scenario when such an argument is pushed into your face?
Now, I must admit, Wong Chun Wai is one hell of a writer. His flair in writing terror reminds me of the ghastly works of Edgar Allan Poe, the classic horror writer. Wong does have a knack of writing to scare. And as if I was not jolted enough on a sweet Sunday morning, in another article in the Star, entitled- “The Star Says …”, the editorial also commented on the same issue: –
“To help clear the confusion, let us be clear on some main points.
First, Malaysia is not and was never meant to be an Islamic state. It is a Muslim-majority nation with Islam as its official religion, and freedom of religion is enshrined in the Constitution.
An Islamic state is ruled by Islamic scholars implementing Islamic law as the nation’s sole or principal legal system. If Malaysia were already an Islamic state, there would be no need to make it one, nor any need for further debate.”
So, it appears the Star is in agreement with Karpal Singh that Malaysia is not an Islamic state. But then, if my memory serves me right, the leaders of BN has already proclaimed the country as one. On July 17th, 2007, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, whilst officiating the “International Conference on the Role of Islamic States in a Globalised World”, proudly declared that Malaysia is an Islamic state and not a secular one.
This apparently found favour in the eyes of former PM Mahathir, who, a few days thereafter, on 25 July 2007, after officiating the International Conference on Gold Dinar Economy, supported Najib by saying “We consider ourselves an Islamic state…”. Of course, not wanting to lose out on a piece of the action, PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi joined the chorus when, in a parliamentary written reply on 27 August 2007, said that Malaysia was an Islamic state ruled by Islamic principles. Of course, how can we all forget the infamous exploits of MP Badruddin bin Amiruldin, who barked in the Dewan Rakyat, “Malaysia ini Negara Islam, you tidak suka, you keluar dari Malaysia!”
Of course, when all this was happening a year ago, I don’t recall Wong Chun Wai and his Star pals making such deafening principled stands. Heck, if we follow by what the BN proclaims, PAS would be able to implement the hudud at any time. In fact, one can say the implementation of the hudud was facilitated by BN.
Now, we have this interesting scenario. PAS wants to implement the hudud. Karpal Singh says PAS cannot do so because Malaysia is not an Islamic state. Wong Chun Wai and pals agree. But then, BN has already proclaimed the country as an Islamic state. So, if we follow what BN says, can PAS then implement hudud law, if we go along with Karpal Singh’s argument?
I wonder what PM Badawi and DPM Najib has to say about this? They seem to be rather quiet on the whole issue.